[19:31] <+Kevin> Hi all. My name is Kevin Hannah and I’m the author/designer of NecroMech – a Dark Fantasy Role-Playing Game in a Post WW2 Alternate History Setting. But beyond the game itself one key difference is that there will be NO books, no PDFS, it is 100% digital.
[19:31] <+Kevin> If you would like I can go into more detail?
[19:31] <~Dan> Please do!
[19:33] <+Kevin> So on the TRPG side of the house I describe it to non-gaming friends as Agent Carter meets Cthulhu meets Push (the movie). With asetting that starts in 1950, about 5 years after the event called the “Rip” that sends us into an alternative history.
[19:34] <+Kevin> The Rip occurs after the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Conjoining our world with a hellish “Otherside”.
[19:35] <+Kevin> Japan is effectively gone, now called The Wastes, and the rest of the world suffers under an “ash” cloud that turns everything cold and grey.
[19:36] <+Kevin> It is this event that triggers psychic abilities for some… and Psycrafters are born.
[19:38] <+Kevin> For those jelaous of these psychic abilities the creatures that come from the Otherside are a source to have their own through grafting of Otherside tissue, called “Stitching”… creating the 6th class or NecroMech.
[19:39] <+Kevin> Through one class, the Meta Engineer, we have the creation of new technological developments… and teh whole feel becomes Dieselpunk.
[19:41] <+Kevin> I don’t want to trot out the whole intro. so better to answer questions…
[19:41] <~Dan> Thanks, Kevin! The floor is open to questions!
[19:42] <~Dan> (You did want to open the floor to questions, right? 🙂 )
[19:42] <+Kevin> Absolutely…
[19:42] <~Dan> Okay! 🙂
[19:42] <~Dan> I noticed you said “class”. Is this a class-based system?
[19:43] <+Kevin> Yes – 6 psychically Talented as we call it classes. But although there are unique elements to each there is no concept of a “caster vs. melee” class.
[19:44] <~Dan> Are there levels as well?
[19:44] <+Kevin> Characters advance in Rank. Currently 1 through to 10.
[19:44] <+Kevin> But advancement is through what we coin the APTitude system.
[19:45] <+Kevin> Action Practice and Training
[19:45] <+Kevin> A little elaboration…
[19:45] * ~Dan nods
[19:47] <+Kevin> Characters gain Psychic Points by actually successfully using their Talents during Encounters. But they can also gain points through practice and training… just less and as they increase in Rank there are diminishing returns unlike throuch Action.
[19:47] <~Dan> (Howdy, MonkofLords!)
[19:48] <+Kevin> Character Skills are exactly the same… advancement via Action, Practice, and Training. One apsect this allows is pre-training for a particular adventure.
[19:48] <+Kevin> Back to you…
[19:49] <~Dan> Who are the main antagonists?
[19:49] <+Kevin> Not a simple question to answer 🙂
[19:49] <+Kevin> But I’ll take a shot
[19:52] <+Kevin> As an example in out first adventures called Stitched! the players start a mission on behalf of the Special Operations Executive (in London). However, directly opposed to the SOE is ODESSA (a post-Nazi group) and so there is conflict there.
[19:52] <+Kevin> But as things development other Organizations become involved.
[19:53] <+Kevin> One ket element to the game is Reputation. You can earn +ve for one Organization but potentially unknown to teh charcaters they are earning -ve Reputation with another.
[19:54] <+Kevin> Reputation gets you benefits or unwanted attention and interference…
[19:55] <+Kevin> So there can be a lot of intrigue.
[19:56] <+Kevin> Beyonf these conflicts you alos havbe the ever present threat from the Othersiders (“monsters”). Whic represent a whole separate set of antagonist.
[19:56] <~Dan> Can you say a bit about Othersiders?
[19:56] <+Kevin> Scary!
[19:58] <+Kevin> The Othersiders are a set of creatures released on the world through the Rip.
[19:59] <+Kevin> The environment they come from makes them formidable but also vulnerable to certain things. Luckily these vulnerabilities confine them to mainland Japan, or what we call The Wastes.
[20:00] <+Kevin> Characters will not be prepared to meet them in the Wastes until they become relatively powerful and even then they will require Meta Engineered weapons, etc.
[20:01] <+Kevin> And if they want to cross to the Otherside with high gravity, no moisture, no light, life-leeching “ash”, then it gets even more difficult.
[20:01] <~Dan> So the only monsters are in what’s left of Japan?
[20:02] <+Kevin> Yes. Except when those interested in “stitching” tissue from them want to try and capture/transport one… a difficult task in itself.
[20:03] <+Kevin> The Wastes (Japan) and Otherside itself.
[20:03] <~Dan> What are these monsters like?
[20:04] <+Kevin> An example then…
[20:07] <+Kevin> The Eviscerator is a large, grey-skinned, hairless, humanoid with empty eye sockets, no nose or ears, bearing a Bone Sword sewn into one of their clawed arms. This sword is used to disembowel their victims and consume their Life Energy. The sword has double serrated bone blades that slide back and fowrard over one another to grind flesh.
[20:07] <+Kevin> Nightmarish stuff.
[20:07] <+Kevin> Which is why we have an artist to capture their essence…
[20:08] <+Kevin> Rather than the usual “monster manual” picture.
[20:08] <+Kevin> Doug Hoppes is our estremely talented artist.
[20:08] <~Dan> Do you have a link to some of his work?
[20:09] <+Kevin> (Link: http://www.shadowmyths.com/)http://www.shadowmyths.com/
[20:10] <+Kevin> I tell the story of how before GenCon 2017 I had been looking for an artist but was not finding what I wanted.
[20:10] <+Kevin> My wife and I were walking artist row and both stopped at Doug’s booth. Looked at each other and said “That’s it!”
[20:11] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:11] <+Kevin> From that day a great collaboration was born.
[20:11] <+Kevin> Talking of my wife…
[20:12] <+Kevin> Ginette is not a tabletop gamer. So when I came to design the mechanics I wanted to build something that wouldn’t put her off.
[20:12] * ~Dan nods
[20:12] <+Kevin> Had to be simply explained and executed. I guess I did OK since she is now a regular play tester
[20:13] <+Kevin> Si we have a hybrid d100/d10 system
[20:13] <~Dan> Before you get too deep into the system, is there a character sheet that we can see?
[20:13] <+Kevin> Player wnats to take an Action… it has a Difficulty… modifiers are applied and they have a Success % to roll under.
[20:14] <+Kevin> All the pregenerated characters for Stitched! are available… thsi is One (Link: https://necromech.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/boomboom1.pdf)https://necromech.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/boomboom1.pdf
[20:15] <~Dan> Let’s see here…
[20:16] <~Dan> Are human attributes on a 1-10 scale?
[20:16] <+Kevin> Yes
[20:16] <+Kevin> Base 10 for everything 🙂
[20:16] <~Dan> How do they related to skills?
[20:17] <~Dan> Relate, rather
[20:18] <+Kevin> Certain skills benefit from certain attributes. For example, Seduction gets a bonus for high Charisma. Big shock 🙂
[20:18] <~Dan> Heh. 🙂
[20:19] <+Kevin> The most unique attribute is Force Majeure…
[20:19] <~Dan> Are skills rated 1-10 as well? From the looks of the character sheet, they seem to be rated as Novice, Amateur, and Professional.
[20:20] <+Kevin> Skills increase in Proficiency of None to Novice – to Amatuer to Professeional to Expert
[20:21] <+Kevin> The higher the proficiency the greater the bonus when taking an Action involving that skill
[20:21] <~Dan> What is the bonus added to?
[20:23] <+Kevin> So for example, if a charcater is trying to open a lock then it could be deemed of Challenging Difficulty (i.e. complicated lock) so the base chance of successfully opening it would be 20%. If the charcater was Expert in Lock Picking they would gain a +40% to make it 60% assuming no other factors like it being dark 🙂
[20:24] <+Kevin> Every Action has a Base Difficulty to start from….
[20:25] <+Kevin> Simple 100%, Easy 80%, Standard 60%, Difficult 40%, Challenging 20% and Insurmoutable o%
[20:25] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[20:25] <~Dan> Does degree of success matter?
[20:26] <+Kevin> Its pretty binary on Success or Fail but the Outcome can be binary, such as the lock opened or not, but if there is aviability its all based on some form of d10s roll
[20:27] <+Kevin> variability sorry… fingers not working
[20:27] <+Kevin> One thing of note though…
[20:28] <+Kevin> It’s up to teh players as to the granularity of modifier they want to use but ultimately we want to releacr an Encounter Resolution App so they don’t really have to do any calculations at all.
[20:29] <+Kevin> Digital is our mantra.
[20:29] <~Dan> Can you say more about the digital aspect? I’m not clear on that.
[20:31] <+Kevin> So all of today’s TRPGs follow a book publishing model, whether it be in physical print of PDF.
[20:31] <~Dan> (Howdy, BPIJonathan!)
[20:32] <+Kevin> NecroMech is purely digital via App or online. No book or PDF.
[20:33] <+Kevin> This means continuous dynamic content update and addition.
[20:33] <~Dan> Huh. Interesting.
[20:34] <+Kevin> Think more MMO
[20:35] <+Kevin> It also means we can take advantage of digital to include adventure cut-scene video, character dialog, and narration.
[20:35] * ~Dan nods
[20:35] <+Kevin> No longer does the gruff bearded GM have to read the French seductresses lines… it can be played by an actress and clicked to hear.
[20:36] <~Dan> Has anyone else done this to your knowledge?
[20:36] <+Kevin> But this means a subscription model rather than buying a book.
[20:36] <+Kevin> No. We are the first.
[20:37] <~Dan> Wow… Kudos to you for the innovation!
[20:38] <+Kevin> It is an uphill battle to get gamers to see the value in subscription over owning a book…
[20:39] <+Kevin> Even if they pay $50, read it once, and put it in the bookshelf to forever gather dust.
[20:39] <~Dan> How much will a subscription be?
[20:40] <+Kevin> $10 a month, $27 a quarter, of $100 a year. So the cost to try out a new game drops to $10.
[20:41] <+Kevin> The key though, is like an MMO, to have constantly developing content.
[20:41] * ~Dan nods
[20:41] <+Kevin> Play a game for a month ($10), stop for 6 months, come back and play again ($10), and the game is full of new stuff
[20:41] <+Kevin> Or
[20:42] <+Kevin> Keep playing for a year ($100) and get the same value as a Core Rulebook ($50), 2 Full Adventures ($30 x 2), 4 Episodes (combined $30) and a 2nd Edition Core Rulebook ($50). That’s our 12 month content plan.
[20:43] <+Kevin> Also, for new games you don’t have to Kickstart and make people wait 18 month suntil you get it right and commit to print.
[20:43] <+Kevin> If something needs changing just patch it… again more like software then a book.
[20:44] <+Kevin> I Kickstarted one game and the book arrived 19 months later.
[20:44] <+Kevin> On average its a year+
[20:45] <+Kevin> We are also launching with 300+ pages of core Dossier and a 100 page Adventure…
[20:45] <+Kevin> Not a story of “what will be”.
[20:45] <+Kevin> Also no buying a book and finding a friend downloaded the pirated PDF for free.
[20:46] <+Kevin> I’ll get off my soap box 🙂
[20:46] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:47] <~Dan> How does combat work?
[20:48] <+Kevin> Physical combat is just like any other Action. Success% chance and Outcome measured in d10.
[20:48] <+Kevin> However, we also have psychic abilities…
[20:50] <~Dan> Yes, can you say some more about those?
[20:50] <+Kevin> So we simply say that all psychic abilities (at the speed of thought) occur first. I resolve all psychic Talent use first. And there is a Mental Initiative to determine the order.
[20:50] <+Kevin> Then you resolve all the physical Actions, this time based on a Physical Initiative.
[20:51] <+Kevin> Psychic Talents are immensely varied… in fact I think we are up to over 150 Talents
[20:52] <+Kevin> But one unique aspect…
[20:52] <+Kevin> Talents are organized into Tiers, i.e. Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3
[20:52] <~Dan> So psychic powers all end in Tiers?
[20:52] <+Kevin> I’ll illustrate…
[20:53] <+Kevin> Each Psycrafter class has a choice of 9 Tier 1 abilities.
[20:54] <+Kevin> Each of these has a related Tier 2 and Tier 3 ability
[20:54] <+Kevin> For example a Shadow Weaver has Alter Self (Tier 1) Misperception (Tier 2) and Invisibility (Tier 3)
[20:55] <+Kevin> This is a Talent “Tree”
[20:55] <+Kevin> If a character picks Alter Self then as they advance in Rank they can take Misperception
[20:56] <+Kevin> BUT is they do NOT have Alter Self then they can NOT take Misperception.
[20:56] <+Kevin> Similarly to take Invisibility they msut already have Alter Self and Misperception.
[20:57] <+Kevin> It follows teh logic that as the character develops one particulat psychic ability then it opens pathways to more powerful related psychic abilities.
[20:58] <+Kevin> It also means lower Rank choices impact what can be taken later
[20:58] <~Dan> So its pays to specialize?
[20:59] <+Kevin> Did I explain adequately?
[20:59] <~Dan> I think so, yes.
[20:59] <+Kevin> Not specialization per se….
[20:59] <~Dan> How powerful can psychic abilities become? What are some powers on the high end of the scale?
[21:02] <+Kevin> On the offensive side (Blood Boil) 1d10 round 1 2d10 round 2 3d10 round 3 etc. for as long as they can concentrate or they run out of energy (10 rounds at Rank 10). And since everyone has 100 Health points…
[21:02] <+Kevin> On the defensive or utility side equally as beneficial at high Ranks.
[21:03] <+Kevin> OK?
[21:03] <~Dan> Yup!
[21:04] <~Dan> How would you describe the tech level of the setting?
[21:05] <+Kevin> We are starting in 1950. About 5 years after Meta Engineers gained the ability to create new Meta engineered technology. Very Dieselpunk. But its still very early days and so technology development will be something we take further as teh timeline progresses.
[21:06] <+Kevin> Example…
[21:07] <+Kevin> A Meta Engineer can create a Gemstone Capacitor out of a Black Diamond that acts like a huge battery. At high levels you could store teh euqivilent of a submarine battery bank
[21:07] <+Kevin> oops
[21:07] <+Kevin> of electrical energy…
[21:08] <+Kevin> Once you have that then the possibilities are endless
[21:08] <+Kevin> We want the players to be able to really explore this aspect
[21:08] <+Kevin> Definitely Dieselpunk
[21:09] * ~Dan nods
[21:09] <+Kevin> In play test our players have thought of doing things both from a technology perspective and a psychic Talent use that are really creative
[21:10] <+Kevin> Such as using Molecular Adhesion to stick an opponents pant legs together… lol
[21:11] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:12] <+Kevin> There is an enormous amount of content… so I would ask people to go check out the Dossier
[21:12] <~Dan> What sorts of powers can NecroMechs have?
[21:13] <+Kevin> It is graft specific… so taking a tooth graft gives Necrovasculation, Rupture, and Hateful Harvest
[21:14] <+Kevin> Hateful Harvest…pulls the blood from the very pores of your target, washing you in a flood or red that heals you.
[21:15] <~Dan> Nice.
[21:15] <+Kevin> Living with a graft however can be challenging
[21:16] <~Dan> Stigma?
[21:16] <+Kevin> Use your powers to much and a NecroMech can end up as a mindless Hungerer as teh graft “takes over”.
[21:16] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[21:17] <+Kevin> Physical issues as well…
[21:17] <+Kevin> They tend to have more powerful abilities but downsides to balnes it out.
[21:17] <+Kevin> balance
[21:18] <+Kevin> Ther are also willing NecroMechs and unwilling ones
[21:18] <+Kevin> We throw in lots of moral dilemma and ambiguity
[21:19] * ~Dan nods
[21:19] <+Kevin> I would say the themes and play tend to be more adult in nature
[21:20] <~Dan> Cool.
[21:21] <+Kevin> No explicit language though.
[21:21] * ~Dan nods
[21:21] <~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[21:21] <+Kevin> But you can paint a pretty vivid picture without it.
[21:21] <+Kevin> I would like to touch on one thing…
[21:22] <+Kevin> Where I see the future of TRPGs
[21:22] <~Dan> Sure!
[21:23] <+Kevin> First – we are focused on the at-the-table experience… not remote play through a screen.
[21:23] <+Kevin> But we do want to use digital technologies to make that experience as immersive as possible.
[21:24] <+Kevin> I already mentioned the use of video, narration, NPC dialog.
[21:25] <+Kevin> But we are also looking at Digital Gameplay Surface(s) integration for dynamic encounter management and display, use of additional digital assets such as drill-down images/animations of doors and locks, and automatic miniature position recognition.
[21:25] <+Kevin> Basically do away with paper maps and whiteboards and make the play surface intelligent.
[21:26] <+Kevin> But keep the miniatures. We all love’em!
[21:27] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:27] <+Kevin> People should check out (Link: https://youtu.be/yTXML5fP4a8)https://youtu.be/yTXML5fP4a8 to get an idea of what I mean
[21:28] <+Kevin> Also Augmented Reality (AR) glasses that support Heads-Up-Display (HUD) of situationally relevant information, content look-up, as well as cut scene animation of dealing with pesky opponents.
[21:28] <+Kevin> Even an an AI-enabled gameplay assistant…
[21:28] <~Dan> Wow!
[21:30] <+Kevin> It is interesting that if you look at making a “mobile” telephone call in the 1970s you had to find a pay phone but today smartphones are ubiquitous. On the other hand a picture of a group playing D&D in the 70s vs today looks EXACTLY the same except for the fashion!
[21:30] <~Dan> True.
[21:31] <+Kevin> The print model so ingrained in WotC, Paizo, etc. is holding TRPGs back…
[21:31] <+Kevin> But again… off the soap box 🙂
[21:31] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:31] <+Kevin> And that’s about it… my thanks for “listening”…
[21:32] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, Kevin!
[21:32] <~Dan> Please know that you’re always welcome to hang out with us!
[21:32] <+Kevin> I’ll be back! LOL
[21:32] <~Dan> Standard reminder: Gratuities are welcome at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ for those so inclined.
[21:33] <~Dan> And now, if you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂